‘Novelist draws on city’s deep and more recent past for thrilling inspiration’

Antoinette Holm has published two works of fiction that draw upon the texture of Newcastle life, its history and heritage, to create a riveting and exciting series about an ordinary woman from Newcastle who gets caught up in corruption and political intrigue.

Antoinette lived in Newcastle from 1994 to 2007 and during that time the city, its people and its history was a great inspiration for her writing. She was struck by how regional cities such as Newcastle were not represented or portrayed in our national stories. She wrote two novels about Newcastle finishing the second after she had moved to Victoria.

Antoinette recalled how ‘The major publishers were not interested in these works, sometimes commenting that if only it could be changed to be about Sydney or Melbourne!’

Finally a niche publisher in Melbourne picked up the first novel ‘Steel River’, which was published in 2009. This followed an ordinary Newcastle resident – Jayne Buchanan – as she unwittingly stumbles into a dark, unknown world involving crime, drugs and prostitution.

Steel River by Antoinette Holm
Steel River by Antoinette Holm

‘I hope you will have a look at them, and perhaps enjoy reading a story set in your place, which also draws on local history and heritage for inspiration. In fact, the two works now feature parts of the Newcastle urban fabric which are already ‘history’ since the main character has various adventures in the disused buildings of the BHP steel works (now completely demolished), and rides on the Newcastle train line (now cut at Hamilton)’ said Antoinette.

The second novel in the series, Base Metal sees Jayne back at the University where she is asked to take a short term research assistant job. This proves to be anything but straightforward as Jayne travels out to Broken Hill where once again she stumbles onto a dangerous plot involving money, deceit, murder and mining leases.

Base Metal by Antoinette Holm
Base Metal by Antoinette Holm

Now, using the disruptive technology of Amazon Kindle to avoid the national cultural gatekeepers entirely,  both of these novels are available directly through Amazon kindle.


There is a third work – tentatively called ‘Open Cut’ – which is under development. Needless to say recent events in Newcastle in the last five years provide plenty of raw material for the novelist to set a thriller about corruption, development and the fate an an ordinary person caught up in these bigger dramas. Surely such things would never happen in Newcastle!

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